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Kono J.,Chalmers University of Technology | Goto Y.,Chalmers University of Technology | Ostermeyer Y.,Chalmers University of Technology | Frischknecht R.,treeze Ltd. | Wallbaum H.,Chalmers University of Technology
Key Engineering Materials | Year: 2016

Thermal insulation material is an important component to reduce the environmental impact of buildings through the reduction of energy consumption in the operation phase. However, the material itself has embodied environmental impacts for the value it provides. Eco-efficiency is a method that quantifies relation between the environmental performance and the created value of a product system. This study investigated contributing factors of the eco-efficiency of thermal insulation materials to support decision making of material manufacturers. For the improvement of eco-efficiency, the assessment was made in two scopes: investigating the contributing factors of impact caused at production processes; and thermal performance through thermo-physical properties. For quantifying environmental impacts, cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) of each materials were made. The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) indicators used were ReCiPe H/A and global warming potential (GWP100a). For the assessment of production process, the inventories of the materials were assigned to six categories: heat, chemicals, electricity, transportation, raw materials and wastes. Among the assessed materials, contribution of electricity and heat within the production process was large for foam glass which had the highest potential to improve the eco-efficiency which was by factor 1.72. The analysis on relation between thermophysical properties and eco-efficiency based on product data of the materials highlighted the importance of density as an indicator upon development and use. Althoughdensity often gains less attention,the finding suggested the effectiveness of improving the efficiency by having lower density without compensating the performance of the materials. © 2016 Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland. Source


Wallbaum H.,Chalmers University of Technology | Busser S.,treeze Ltd. | Itten R.,treeze Ltd. | Frischknecht R.,treeze Ltd.
10th International Conference on Geosynthetics, ICG 2014 | Year: 2014

Geosynthetic materials are used in many different applications in the civil and underground engineering. In most cases, the use of geosynthetic material replaces the use of other materials. On behalf of the European Association for Geosynthetic Manufacturers (EAGM) the authors quantified the environmental performance of commonly applied construction materials (such as concrete, cement, lime or gravel) versus geosynthetics. To this end a set of comparative life cycle assessment studies are carried out, according to the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards, concentrating on various application cases, namely filtration, foundation stabilised road, landfill construction and slope retention. The environmental performance of geosynthetics is compared to the performance of competing construction materials used. The environmental impacts of the full life cycle of the four cases show overall the following results: • A filter using a geosynthetic layer causes lower impacts compared to a conventional gravel based filter layer with regard to all impact category indicators investigated. • A conventional road causes higher impacts compared to a road reinforced with geosynthetics with regard to all impact category indicators. • A geosynthetic drainage layer causes lower environmental impacts compared to a gravel based drainage layer in all impact categories considered except land competition which is about the same in both cases. • A geosynthetic reinforced wall causes lower environmental impacts compared to a reinforced concrete wall in all impact categories considered. Source


Frischknecht R.,treeze Ltd. | Fantke P.,Technical University of Denmark | Tschumperlin L.,treeze Ltd. | Niero M.,Technical University of Denmark | And 16 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) guidance flagship project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative aims at providing global guidance and building scientific consensus on environmental LCIA indicators. This paper presents the progress made since 2013, preliminary results obtained for each impact category and the description of a rice life cycle assessment (LCA) case study designed to test and compare LCIA indicators. Methods: The effort has been focused in a first stage on impacts of global warming, fine particulate matter emissions, water use and land use, plus cross-cutting issues and LCA-based footprints. The paper reports the process and progress and specific results obtained in the different task forces (TFs). Additionally, a rice LCA case study common to all TF has been developed. Three distinctly different scenarios of producing and cooking rice have been defined and underlined with life cycle inventory data. These LCAs help testing impact category indicators which are being developed and/or selected in the harmonisation process. The rice LCA case study further helps to ensure the practicality of the finally recommended impact category indicators. Results and discussion: The global warming TF concludes that analysts should explore the sensitivity of LCA results to metrics other than GWP. The particulate matter TF attained initial guidance of how to include health effects from PM2.5 exposures consistently into LCIA. The biodiversity impacts of land use TF suggests to consider complementary metrics besides species richness for assessing biodiversity loss. The water use TF is evaluating two stress-based metrics, AWaRe and an alternative indicator by a stakeholder consultation. The cross-cutting issues TF agreed upon maintaining disability-adjusted life years (DALY) as endpoint unit for the safeguard subject “human health”. The footprint TF defined main attributes that should characterise all footprint indicators. “Rice cultivation” and “cooking” stages of the rice LCA case study contribute most to the environmental impacts assessed. Conclusions: The results of the TF will be documented in white papers and some published in scientific journals. These white papers represent the input for the Pellston workshop™, taking place in Valencia, Spain, from 24 to 29 January 2016, where best practice, harmonised LCIA indicators and an update on the general LCIA framework will be discussed and agreed on. With the diversity in results and the multi-tier supply chains, the rice LCA case study is well suited to test candidate recommended indicators and to ensure their applicability in common LCA case studies. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source


Frischknecht R.,treeze Ltd. | Fantke P.,Technical University of Denmark | Tschumperlin L.,treeze Ltd. | Niero M.,Technical University of Denmark | And 17 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2016

Purpose: The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) guidance flagship project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative aims at providing global guidance and building scientific consensus on environmental LCIA indicators. This paper presents the progress made since 2013, preliminary results obtained for each impact category and the description of a rice life cycle assessment (LCA) case study designed to test and compare LCIA indicators. Methods: The effort has been focused in a first stage on impacts of global warming, fine particulate matter emissions, water use and land use, plus cross-cutting issues and LCA-based footprints. The paper reports the process and progress and specific results obtained in the different task forces (TFs). Additionally, a rice LCA case study common to all TF has been developed. Three distinctly different scenarios of producing and cooking rice have been defined and underlined with life cycle inventory data. These LCAs help testing impact category indicators which are being developed and/or selected in the harmonisation process. The rice LCA case study further helps to ensure the practicality of the finally recommended impact category indicators. Results and discussion: The global warming TF concludes that analysts should explore the sensitivity of LCA results to metrics other than GWP. The particulate matter TF attained initial guidance of how to include health effects from PM2.5 exposures consistently into LCIA. The biodiversity impacts of land use TF suggests to consider complementary metrics besides species richness for assessing biodiversity loss. The water use TF is evaluating two stress-based metrics, AWaRe and an alternative indicator by a stakeholder consultation. The cross-cutting issues TF agreed upon maintaining disability-adjusted life years (DALY) as endpoint unit for the safeguard subject “human health”. The footprint TF defined main attributes that should characterise all footprint indicators. “Rice cultivation” and “cooking” stages of the rice LCA case study contribute most to the environmental impacts assessed. Conclusions: The results of the TF will be documented in white papers and some published in scientific journals. These white papers represent the input for the Pellston workshop™, taking place in Valencia, Spain, from 24 to 29 January 2016, where best practice, harmonised LCIA indicators and an update on the general LCIA framework will be discussed and agreed on. With the diversity in results and the multi-tier supply chains, the rice LCA case study is well suited to test candidate recommended indicators and to ensure their applicability in common LCA case studies. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Frischknecht R.,treeze Ltd. | Wyss F.,Cantonal Administration of Appenzell Innerrhoden | Busser Knopfel S.,treeze Ltd. | Lutzkendorf T.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | Balouktsi M.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2015

Purpose: Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) is today an important methodology to quantify the life cycle based environmental impacts of products, services or organisations. Since the very first LCA studies, the cumulative energy demand CED (also called ‘primary energy consumption’) has been one of the key indicators being addressed. Despite its popularity, there is no harmonised approach yet and the standards and guidelines define the cumulative energy demand differently. In this paper, an overview of existing and applied life cycle based energy indicators and a unifying approach to establish characterisation factors for the cumulative energy demand indicator are provided. The CED approaches are illustrated in a building’s LCA case study. Methods: The five approaches are classified into two main concepts, namely the energy harvested and the energy harvestable concepts. The two concepts differ by the conversion efficiency of the energy collecting facility. A unifying ‘energy harvested’ approach is proposed based on four theses, which ensure consistent accounting among renewable and non renewable energy resources. Results and discussion: The indicator proposed is compared to four other CED indicators, differing in the characterisation factors of fossil and biomass resources (upper or lower heating value), the characterisation factor of uranium and the characterisation factors of renewable energy resources (amount harvested or amount harvestable). The comparison of the five approaches is based on the cumulative energy demand of a newly constructed building of the city of Zürich covering the whole life cycle, including manufacturing and construction, replacement and use phase, and end of life. The cumulative energy demand of the life cycle of the building differs between 336 MJ oil-eq/m2a (‘CED uranium low’) and 836 MJ oil-eq/m2a (‘CED energy statistics’). The main differences occur in the use phase. The main reason for the large differences in the results are the different concepts to determine the characterisation factors for renewable and nuclear energy resources. Conclusions: The energy harvested approach ‘CED standard’ is a consistent approach, which quantifies the energy content of all different (renewable and non-renewable) energy resources. The ‘CED standard’ approach and the impact category indicator results computed with this approach reflect the safeguard subject ‘energy resources’ but not (no other) environmental impacts. The energy harvested approach proposed in this paper can readily be implemented in different contexts and applied to various data sets. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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